Placard Abuse: It’s Not Just For Downtown Brooklyn Anymore!

Website review of 311 complaints shows that the problem is all over the place.

Placard abuse. Photo: David Meyer
Placard abuse. Photo: David Meyer

We’ve documented placard abuse in Downtown Brooklyn.

We’ve documented it in Inwood.

We’ve seen it all over W. 55th Street in Midtown.

And of course, we found it at City Hall, too.

But the pain of placard abuse is felt most acutely in Far Rockaway, Woodside and University Heights in the Bronx — according to 311 complaints crunched by the website,

Since May 23, 2017 — when “placard” abuse complaints started to be logged by 311 — New Yorkers have made 3,663 reports. Far Rockaway near Shore Front Parkway and Beach 102 Lane led the way with 87 complaints, followed closely by Woodside around 31-06 54th St. (86 complaints) and University Heights around 2420 Sedgwick Ave. (75 complaints).

Now, the data are hardly scientific, given that the 3,600-odd complaints represent just 1 percent of all parking-related reports to 311. But placards are a perk given to our highest officials and law enforcement personnel — so even one complaint would be telling (after all, why are placard possessors parking at fire hydrants anyway?).

When an address gets into double-digits, it’s particularly telling.

“The hot spots reveal where residents are particularly annoyed and vocal about neighbors abusing placards,” said data scientist Michal Eisenberg.

Sometimes you don't even need a placard! Photo: @placardabuse
Sometimes you don’t even need a placard to be a placard abuser! Photo: @placardabuse

These kinds of complaints will likely persist, given that city officials steadfastly avoid cracking down on placard abusers — just 89 cars with illegal parking placards were towed last year, Streetsblog reported in June. As of February, there were 160,000 official parking placards in circulation.

The City Council could act to cut the abuse. And DOT has been mumbling about a centralized electronic tracking system. But for now, Far Rockaway and Woodside residents will just have to deal with their illegally parking neighbors.

Rounding out the top six are:

Financial District around 59 Nassau St. (37 complaints)
Bay Ridge around 134 73rd St. (16 complaints)
Maspeth around 61-33 Grand Ave. (15 complaints)

Based on number of complaints per 1,000 residents, Localize rejiggered the top 10 this way:

  1. Financial District 2.56
  2. Woodside 2.48
  3. Midtown 2.31
  4. Rockaways 2.16
  5. Maspeth 1.80
  6. University Heights 1.77
  7. Chinatown 1.76
  8. Downtown Brooklyn 1.71
  9. Long Island City 1.68